Feedback That Keeps Things Moving Forward

We are all familiar with the "sandwich" approach to giving an employee feedback: say something positive, slip in the negative (ahem, "constructive") message and then wrap up with another positive. This way the recipient will leave the interaction feeling good and will take the negative piece away too. Nonsense! People see through this management trick. They don't even hear the final accolade because they are still processing the corrective "meat" of the sandwich. In fact, any critique hits … [Read more...]

Employee Recognition: More frequently, Please, and Link it to Core Values

Companies are turning to employee recognition as an internal strategy to boost employee engagement and positively impact such metrics as productivity, ROA, ROE, and retention of both employees and customers. For example, companies that have a formal strategic recognition program in place had a voluntary turnover rate (i.e. people choosing to leave) of 14%, vs. 18% for those who don't. Here are several guidelines to make your recognition more impactful: Tie your recognition not only to … [Read more...]

Change Your Words, Change Their Minds

I continue to be amazed by that fundamental truth about living: how we choose to see a situation dictates the choices we–and others–make about it. Take a look at this 2-minute clip that demonstrates it better than any more words I can write. You will be glad you did. How you choose to deliver feedback on an employee's performance will have a huge impact on how he/she responds to your message…acceptance, in the spirit of learning, denial, as a victim, or angry counter attack. How you … [Read more...]

People Just Want to be Noticed…and Appreciated

I came across a quote from Oprah Winfrey, interviewed in the Dec. 26/10 issue of Parade : "Everybody just wants to be heard…Do your eyes light up when I enter the room? Did you hear me and did what I say mean anything to you? That's all they're looking for. That's what everybody is looking for." In a word, we all want to matter in some way in the eyes of those around us. This is useful information for managers. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to send out signals to your employees … [Read more...]

Cause, Not Blame, Produces Better Performance Feedback

I subscribe to Alan Weiss's thought provoking monthly email newsletter called Balancing Act. In his latest issue, he offers the following tip: Here’s a quick secret for getting along and playing nicely in the sandbox: When something goes amiss, don’t look for guilt, look for cause. Focus on correcting the situation and not blaming anyone. The former develops support, the latter enmity.While he mentions it in a more general context of human relations, it is a good reminder for managers whose … [Read more...]

TW 2010 Global Workforce Study-Comment #2

  One of the themes that emerge from TowersWatson's latest survey is around Self-Reliance. Three quarters of respondents agreed that they are ultimately responsible for their financial and career security. This is a good thing. It indicates a tacit willingness to accept accountability. Here's the challenge for employers around this, to quote TW… How much responsibility and risk can reasonably be shifted to employees without impeding their productivity? And what can organizations do … [Read more...]

Time to Tune Your Radar in to Your Staff

Over the last 18 months you've tried hard to keep as many of your people on the payroll as you could. Perhaps those who were retained felt a measure of gratitude for you heartfelt intention to preserve their jobs. Do they still feel these good feelings? It appears to depend on what you've been demanding from them since. And many organizations have been asking too much for too long. A recent study published by the Employee Engagement Survey company, Modern Survey, has detected a trend that … [Read more...]

What to Do about Those Infernal Grousers

At the opening of a four-day management training program I just delivered I asked the participants what were learnings they wanted to take away from the program. Spread across the lists they shared were a number of versions of "how to deal with negativity in the workplace." I wasn't surprised, as I encounter this as an issue for most managers. At the same time, a part of me was disappointed. How sad that so many managers out there encounter a negative outlook in the heads of their employees. … [Read more...]

Recent Research: 2-Way Communication and Engaged Employees

Hewitt Associates has just announced the results of their 2010 Best Employers in Canada study and it has some useful message for all companies. They assessed three factors: STAY – Willingness to remain with your current employer SAY – How positively you talk to others about your employer STRIVE – How motivated you are to go above and beyond to contribute to the business success Among the 50 "Best Employers," the average employee engagement score (i.e. % of employees who responded … [Read more...]

The UN Has Them, Why Not You?

David Neeleman, when CEO of Jet Blue, had three principles by which they ran the company: Flawless execution in everything that touches the customer. Make it right with the customer. Treat employees so well that they become ambassadors of the company's brand. Let's take a closer look at that third one. There are at least four good reasons that are trotted out as arguments for attending to the well-being and for meeting the needs of your employees. I agree with all of … [Read more...]